Sunday, August 24, 2014

Backyard Campout with a Classic Camp Dinner and S'More Puffs

Our summer "fun-to-do" list is usually as big as the ocean. This year I had unexpected surgery so we adjusted our plans to incorporate summer activities right at home.  We decided to go camping IN OUR BACKYARD to keep things easy.  No packing or driving, just home sweet home camping!

This is the only river and bear we spotted on this camping trip.

The boys were extra excited for this night.  Chris helped them set up their own lil tent.  I brought out bug spray and lit some candles, and ta is set!

They rushed around gathering their sleeping bags, stuffed animals, pocket knives, and everything else a boy needs for a camp trip.

For our camp-at-home dinner we made fish and veggie foil packs and cute bites of S'more Puffs.  The boys and I worked together on the meal. They helped with EVERYTHING.  Foil packs are a classic campfire meal.  We made our packs over the grill.

 I used a recipe from Eating Well for these Summer Tilapia and Veggie Foil Packs. Fresh summer veggies cut up: tomatoes, onions, fresh green beans, squash, zucchini, fresh rosemary and other herbs.

Packaged for the grill for this camp style dinner.

Dinner is served!

Time for Dessert!

It doesn't get more real than S'mores.  I used a recipe from my big Southern Living cookbook for these easy-to-assemble S'more Puffs.  They're a fun variation of the traditional s'more.  The boys helped me make them. 

S'More Puff Recipe:

Easy, easy.  
Place Ritz crackers on a cookie sheet.  Place Hershey's Kisses on crackers.  Cut big marshmallows in half.  Top with the mallow halves. Bake in 350 degree oven just a few minutes until marshmallow tops are puffy and golden brown. 


Camp food, dark nights, fire flicks, peaceful sounds of nothing.

After dinner and chilled out talking, it was time to zip them up in their tent.  
Titus had his ground dog stuffed animal tucked into his sleeping bag.

Excited boys!

Titus has one of those super cool star light turtles.  He thought of the brilliant idea to use it in the tent and it lit up tons of green and blue stars all over their tent!  AWESOME!  I think I was more excited than the boys about these star lights. 

And then Chris and I left them alone to tell ghost stories all night long.

I woke up to see this out the window:
Pjs and imaginations

Archery is a great camping pastime...

All the boys helped me make a traditional camp breakfast too.  They made English Muffin Egg Sandwiches...mmMmm. 

It was a successful and easy camp out.  The boys spent the next three nights in the tent because they loved it so much!   

This is the summer life
 for a house of boys.

What are your favorite summer memories?

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Fun Jet-Ski Birthday Party on the Lake!

Our very middle boy turned 12 years old this July.  He is one giant big heart.  He smiles big, loves big, and lives big. He turns everyday into an adventure and he is always taking the time to process and understand how people feel and if they're OK.  We love our Kotah Bear in a crazy huge way, it makes me feel like I could burst!
But anyways...about this boy's party...!

We had a kickback, classic summer experience for his special day.  I was very sick during this time and was unable to throw a fancy-pants party.  ;) His party was actually just 2 days before I had surgery and before I began my "feel well again" journey.  His birthday on the beach was just what our family needed.  His "theme" was jet skis and laketime.

For a cute beachy themed snack, I made a goodie tray full of goldfish, chocolate sea shells and fish, brown sugar sand, and blue jello water.  

I used these unique chocolates that my Grandma brought me back from Europe! 

Go fish and dig in!

I used my beverage cart for another snack area:

I also made fruit kebobs.  I make these often for our lake days! 

For lunch, I ordered Subway Sandwich platters.  Absolute lifesaver.

I decorated only with beach balls and free-hanging streamers.

Kotah and his friend, Kaleb, had fun with all the beach balls...

Cameron chasing the beach balls...

 Dakotah invited one friend, Kaleb, for his party for the day and then to spend the night over at our house.

Those two!

I needed something simple for the cake since I wasn't feeling 100%.  I made an ice cream sandwich cake that was extra yummy!

I just used some ingredients I had in the house to come up with the whipped frosting. 
To make:
Prepare whipped frosting by combining a package of softened cream cheese, a jar of marshmallow whip, and whipped cream (I like to whip mine fresh instead of buying the cream in tubs).  Add a little bit of sugar.  Fold together.
To assemble: 
Make 2 long rows of ice cream sandwiches.  Spread a layer of hot fudge on top.  Spread a layer of frosting over the fudge.  Repeat with all 3 layers again.  Sprinkle with pretties and freeze for a couple hours before serving!

Make a wish!

12 years to celebrate!


Time for presents! 

 I have always liked to match some of the gifts to the party theme.  It is a lot of fun! This year, we bought Dakotah a Lego jet ski set to match his jet ski lake party!

My parents also got him his first SNAP ON Tools.  He was in awe!

This is not how you use tools boys...

Titus gave his brother Hot Wheels.  LOVE.

After the festivities, we had a lot of water time fun!

Me skiing

Chris knee boarding

The boys paddleboarding

Jet ski time of course!

Our birthday boy wakeboarding!

 It was an exciting day under the sun, celebrating the adventurous life our very special middle boy.  The boys happily spent the rest of the day entertaining their friend Kaleb at our house, and enjoying a fun birthday sleepover!

Happy 12th Birthday Dakotah!
Love you always.